Coronavirus is not disappearing and will still be here in three years, a leading German virologist has warned.
Professor Hendrik Streeck, the director of the Institute of Virology at the University of Bonn who led the response to Covid-19 in one of Germany’s worst-hit regions, said spikes are inevitable and the public must adapt to a new way of living to avoid widespread outbreaks.
“This virus is not disappearing. It has now become part of our daily lives,” he told Scottish tabloid the Sunday Mail.
“It will still be here in three years and we have to find a way to live with it.
“However, it is really important to stop superspreading events where many people gather together as those can cause large outbreaks.
“We know that social distancing, not gathering in big groups and covering your face can have a profound impact on the infection.
“These are simple measures that can help stop the spread if you have large levels of infection.”
Prof Streeck, who used the town of Gangelt in Heinsberg to study how Covid-19 spreads between households and how it can be contained, said the discovery of a vaccine was “probable”, but was cautious about being too optimistic on the timescale, adding that it may not be until at least next year.
He also said that while the idea of herd immunity can sound “terrible”, it is likely to be essential in combatting the virus.
“Herd immunity is a terrible way to describe it as it sounds like you’re forcing people together to get infected,” Prof Streeck explained.
“But it is also something that really helps to slow down infections.”
Prof Streeck’s research, which involved 919 participants from 405 households, found that most infections occur in large gatherings and in homes.
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